As I suspected would happen from my last blog that Kindle acquisition is taking up huge lumps of free time with the abundance of free material and the information it can bring. It’s great to feel a desire to get through the Communist Manifesto (surprisingly relevant ideally to a modern world economics, but limited by how global our world and the people have become) and a plethora of books on things from travel to science and odds and sods of anything interesting in between.
Over the holiday, I realized by around the 3rd January that I was actually rested. I had the common ironic syndromes of this – my body deciding it would be perfectly wide awake at 03:00 for no apparent reason. I’ve done that since I was a small boy fairly often – and I’m perfectly fine with it, but it only happens when I don’t need any more sleep.
In resting up over the two weeks, I hit the sales to show and get things at a fraction of the Swedish price. And in that I’ve had to move up a trouser size. Gulp. Not really a huge shock, but the time cometh and I just crossed the 32 in barrier. Thankfully, some of trousers in Sweden do still fit and I’m going to make sure they do.
I had been taking my foot of exercising too. Yes, I can say I was working hard, that’s normal – I remember my first few months in Sweden when I was able to have a cheeky swim midweek and so forth and I wondered how on Earth I managed to fit it all in now, and once a week on a tired Sunday afternoon anyway was hardly inspiring any anaerobic respiration through my muscles. I also insisted on the fact I wanted to turn off my fridge and freezer before leaving, which meant eating up about a kilo of blue cheese in 4 days before I left.
I wasn’t that hurt though even with an expanding waist band or the scales saying I was the wrong side of the 13 stone barrier. After all, I know my upper body has bulked out since kayaking more than ever before. I was able before I left to actually do something close to resemblance of a normal push up, a huge achievement I never really thought I would get to do. I kind of sensed though that I needed a purpose and a fresh excitement to exercise again. So, after a clever facebook advert, I have signed up for the 10 km Kistaloppet in August. Now, a 10 km is not that far, but I want to set a semi-ambitious target of being able to complete it in 55 minutes. Hopefully the excitement of a real race with thousands of others will be the spur particularly over the summer months to keep up the good work. In the same vain, I’ve cut out cheese and any kind of spread from my diet and am focusing on eating silly amounts of vegetables at home (there is no way I am limiting what I eat at school).
What really hurt was how unfit I had become. I struggled through staff innebandy on Wednesday noticing my heart rate exploding after a couple of minutes. I was a passenger in the games and so out of touch. My body confidence was pretty low. I realized I was not in my best shape, but did not consider this.
And so I looked forward to finishing school on Friday. If I have nothing planned for a Friday I will work usually to about 18:30 and then head swimming until the pool closes at 9. It’s a great end to the week, the pool is always quiet and I even have a few friendly faces there now. I was intent on doing a good session, I bought new goggles and everything. I lost count of how many lengths I did and so forth, which is actually very unusual, but I managed to do all 4 strokes and sprints and long 30 minutes stretches that were so hard I got friction burns on my armpits from hitting the water relentlessly. I stopped as the last person in the pool when I suddenly realized I was hitting my wall and I wasn’t quite sure I was in 100% consciousness.
Boy was I proud of myself that night. I was too hungry to eat when I got home, so I’ve been grazing on cereal, bread and mushrooms ever since. I just felt so good and I lost track of how much I ate. I treated myself to use the sauna as well. I felt I had achieved so much and I was so proud. This was the road to recovery, the shining light. As I feel asleep reading my kindle, I recall the words gently swaying on the screen as I lay in bed, the little shot or two’s worth of whisky hitting me hard in this state of exhaustion to send me into what I believed would be a dreamily long sleep.
I was not impressed that the first memory of this morning was that it was still dark, about 03:30 infact, way before I wanted to be up on the Saturday morning. Especially after my momentous triumph of life the night before. My head was spinning and liquid was dripping out my nose at every opportunity. I was broken; I had done too much and my body couldn’t cope. Some night-time grazing combined with soothing wet towel on my boiling forehead and the combination of paracetamol and anti-allergy tablets brought me back to a state where I would, eventually, drift back off to sleep
I awoke happy and content once again, and have hit the ground running with working and all sorts of jobs today. I thought that every week and weekend might feel this good. But then I remembered that I’m going to have so much marking to do that I realized these were the good times, and it was going to get tougher very quickly. I hate marking but I love teaching. Marking is by far the least inspiring part of my role. It is far more satisfying seeing the learning happen live than it can ever be on some A4 paper.
However, I have an addiction. I want that feeling of pride, that achiness in every muscle, that joy as the trousers fit once again. I want to get fitter and this time I am going to make that a priority alongside my work.